Social investment in permanency outcomes

Measuring social investment for children in different child-welfare permanency pathways: a scoping study

The Institute of Open Adoption Studies, in collaboration with researchers in economics, law and health statistics, has been awarded funding through The University of Sydney Policy Lab. This project will involve data linkage to track and measure social investment in relation to child well-being and life outcomes in a cohort of children in different types of placements (long-term foster care, guardianship and open adoption)

This scoping study will establish the groundwork for the analysis of permanency pathways for children in out-of-home care in NSW, including restoration, guardianship, open adoption and long-term foster care. The project will define the core questions, test the methodology and negotiate access to the relevant government and agency data to develop a dataset on outcomes achieved for children with different placements. The aim of this project will be to conduct a proof-of-concept for a Category 1 grant application, by bringing together a network of researchers for a data linkage workshop and by integrating relevant datasets. It will also result in one research article to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Ultimately, the goal of this research is to shift the policy conversation from measuring the costs and outputs of services and programs, to measuring investments in the outcomes achieved for children’s well-being.

The Sydney Policy Lab is a new multidisciplinary initiative that will bring together researchers from across the University with government agencies, community groups, NGOs and industry to work on problem-oriented, policy-focused research.